Anne V. Coates
Anthony Dod Mantle
Side by Side: The Science, Art and Impact of Digital Cinema (NR)
Documentary 99 August 24, 2012
It’s not as heavy as all that — producer Keanu Reeves plays interlocutor with a number of filmmakers, including Martin Scorsese, Steven Soderbergh, George Lucas and Lena Dunham, adding a certain chumminess, and the history of the digital-image revolution is laid out in illuminating rather than stultifying terms. Reeves' contraction-free, schoolboy narration suits some overly basic explications ("One of the first steps of the production process," we are informed, "is capturing the image in camera"), but there's too much substance here (plus the reliably tart presence of David Fincher) for Side by Side to get all tied up in its couple of kinks. If loyalties are staked, few are ironclad; cinematographers, camera makers and color correctors chime in about shifting film-crew dynamics.
At its most fascinating, Side by Side examines the idea that changing formats means changing not just the way movies are made but watched, adjusting the essence of what looks and feels "real."